On Mortality

I have never known someone who died. Until now. I'm not really even sure how to process it.

People talk about things like 'god' and the 'question of suffering'. I'm not even going to try to tackle that; not now. This is similar, but a little different.


My wife's cat, Kayla, died last night. She was miserable and mean. She terrorized both myself and my wife, and our three other cats. I feel terrible and miss her horribly. This is both confusing and excruciating. We didn't get along, but no one should have to suffer like that. What does it even mean?

I feel like...it's like breaking up with a girlfriend. A bad girlfriend. A girlfriend you never should have been with in the first place. Yet there you are! And yet when you finally go your own separate ways, it is tremendously painful. Don't get me wrong: you're both better off. But all the same, it hurts. It's this transition -- the adjustment of going from one very specific state of being and relating to someone else, to rather the opposite, all in a matter of days, hours, or maybe even minutes.

And this is similar. But even more critically, this living being stopped behaving in the way I had grown accustomed to: she stopped hissing at me, scratching, growling, chasing, squirming, eating, sleeping, shitting. But even more basically, on a very visceral level, she stopped moving completely.

There is such subtle, consistent motion in life. It's an immense comfort. The beat of a heart. The drawing of breath. And when it ultimately stops, it is the most terrible, disturbing thing that I can imagine witnessing.

Kayla, for reasons I will probably never fully understand, I will miss you.

"While you are away, my heart comes undone; slowly unravels, in a ball of yarn." - Björk